Read Acts 2:42-47.

The author of the Cloud of Unknowing describes how to enter into yourself and to seek God in love. “God is apprehended not by reason but by love,” “for it is love alone that can reach God in this life.” Thus, the prayer he describes is a striving for God that is made of love, not words or thoughts. Prayer of the heart.

Some compare this to “Eastern meditation” and say that prayer is essentially verbal. To such a person I would say “when I pray, should I just be reciting words, or may I also intend what I say? When I say ‘your will be done’ may I also desire that God’s will be done? And when I say ‘hallowed be your name,’ may I also adore God?”

If he affirms, I would then ask “what happens when my words run out? May I continue to desire and love God?” If he is okay with that too, I’d point out that we actually agree on the Christian life; I’m simply willing to call more aspects “prayer” than he.

Which leads to the question, “what is prayer?” Two key definitions you’ll find in the dictionary are “a solemn request” and “communion with God.” Okay, so what is “communion”?

The first definition of “communion” is “a possessing or sharing in common.” Communal. Community. Communism. The Lord’s supper. The persons of the Holy Trinity have communion with each other and we join in. Prayer is in the deepest nature of God. And we join in.

When two people marry, they normally agree to share possessions. In a good marriage, they also share hopes and desires (“prayers”). They may grow to share thoughts. Or quirks. Some even grow to look like each other. They enter into communion, or, better, union.

Love shares all things. It is not at all surprising that if the early church loved each other deeply, they would share possessions.

What happens when we enter into a loving, sharing relationship with God? Think of God’s omniscient wisdom, his omnipotent power, his proprietorship of all of creation, his self-giving love—and his loving, generous spirit that will settle for nothing less than sharing all things with us. Think about that for a minute. That is prayer.

Sing: O the depth of love divine

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and